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Liberty Athletics Helps Raise Polar Plunge to New Level

March 3, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Donna Barber stepped in for her husband, Liberty Director of Athletics, Jeff Barber, who was unable to participate in the event this year.

The third annual Hill City Polar Plunge Festival proved to be an outstanding success this past weekend, with Liberty students, staff and faculty taking part in the Special Olympics Virginia Fundraiser which brought in over $12,000 on Saturday afternoon at Camp Hydaway on Liberty Mountain.

Liberty Athletics' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) assisted Special Olympics Virginia's Director of Development, Josh Walker, in the fundraising effort for the non-profit organization. Walker showed his appreciation for Liberty's assistance, saying, "Thanks again to Liberty Athletics for helping raise more money than any other fundraiser in this area for us. You guys continue to raise the bar."

The day's activities began at 10 a.m. with registration and culminated with the main event at 2 p.m.

Participants, who were asked to raise $100 before taking the plunge into the chilly waters, were given a lunch and a t-shirt, while also having the opportunity to watch the Battle of the Bands, which began at 11 a.m.

This year's edition of the Polar Plunge took the event to new heights once again. In just its third year, the $12,000 raised approached double the total of last year, with well over 50 people participating in the cause.

At the inaugural plunge in 2009, 16 participants helped Liberty Athletics raise $2,400 for the Special Olympics, while the second year saw 50 fundraisers gather $7,500 in funds. This year's figures show the commitment that Liberty Athletics and the surrounding community have for charitable causes.

Prizes were also handed out from various community businesses, awarding the top team and individual fundraisers.

Two of Liberty's women's athletics programs brought in the most funds. The women's soccer team raised over $1,100 for the Special Olympics Virginia, while the volleyball team was a close second, raising over $1,000. Head Coach Shane Pinder joined his volleyball team by taking the plunge as well.

The volleyball team's effort was driven by Karyl Bacon and Courtney Boggs, who gathered over $800 as a tandem effort. This figure gave them the individual prize for the most funds raised.

Walker also recognized Donna Barber on Saturday at the event, thanking her for stepping in for her husband, Liberty's Director of Athletics, Jeff Barber, since he was unable to participate in the plunge this year.

Through the Polar Plunge Winter Festival and other statewide fundraisers, more than 10,000 athletes from around Virginia, are given the opportunity to take part in year-round training and athletic competition. As a result, children and adults with intellectual disabilities are able to strengthen their physical and mental abilities.

Special Olympics Virginia, a non-profit organization, provides year-round sports training and athletic competition programs for people of all ages with intellectual disabilities. Due to the generosity of more than 20,000 volunteers, athletes pay nothing to partake in the Special Olympics program. For more information about Special Olympics Virginia, please visit their website.

Read Liberty Liberty News Service's recap of the Polar Plunge here.